A Longtime N.C. State Fair Fan is Ready to Taste the State’s Best Chili in the 2022 Home Chef Challenge

Bowl of chili

For 11 days each October, the N.C. State Fairgrounds turns into a delicious culinary playground. This season, the North Lobby of the Dorton Arena will have the sensational aromas of home chefs cooking their best recipes in hopes of winning $500 and bragging rights in the 2022 Home Chef Challenge.  Raeford resident Dewayne Smith has attended the N.C. State Fair for 35 years. This season he is ready to chow down on homemade chili as one of the panel judges for The Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cook-Off presented by Carolina Cooker.  When Smith read about the contest in the…

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How a Notorious Doodler Turned Her Doodling Into Functional Wood Burning Art

Martin Birdhouse with Sunflower Design by Jeanette Egan

One of the most popular exhibits at the N.C. State Fair is the Village of Yesteryear. More than 75 crafters dressed in period clothing will spend eleven-hour exciting days educating fair visitors in this “working-artist” interactive exhibit that features traditional heritage handcrafts. Jeanette Egan, who specializes in pyrography and woodburning, will make her Village of Yesteryear debut this October. “I’m in awe to be part of the Village of Yesteryear this year. This is a fabulous opportunity to be able to educate others on the art of wood burning,” said Puerto-Rican artist Jeanette Egan, a descendant of the Taino Boriken…

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Military Appreciation Day celebrates and honors the brave men and women who serve

Paying tribute to the men and women of the U.S. Military and honoring their service has been the goal of the N.C. State Fair’s Military Appreciation Day since 2006. In 2014, a Military Appreciation Day Parade was held for the first time and today, it continues to be one of the best parts of the day’s events. This year, the parade features an impressive lineup including the N.C. National Guard’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle, N.C. A&T Cold Steel Drumline, Athens Drive High School Marching Band, Casey Cardinal, Carolina Hurricanes mascot Stormy, Smokey Bear, an extensive collection of antique tractors and more…

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New assistant manager has deep roots in agricultural fairs; brings a passion for ag education to the job

The N.C. State Fair’s new assistant manager Robert Fogle is new to North Carolina, but definitely not to agricultural fairs. The native of Frederick, Maryland grew up showing animals at his local fair through 4-H and FFA programs, gaining a love for agricultural education along the way. Fogle, 51, showed dairy goats, market lambs and beef cattle. Today, he and his family still raise Dorper and Shropshire sheep, which are now shown by his nieces. Those early experiences instilled many life lessons and left Fogle with a fondness for agricultural fairs, so he is not surprised he has ended up…

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Heart-led Home Chef Challenge Celebrates Cancer Warriors – Entries due Oct. 3

“As human beings, food connects us to each other more than anything else,” said Dr. Neeraj Agrawal, Duke Health Cancer Care oncologist. Each day the N.C. State Fair hosts cooking competitions to showcase the talents of home chefs in the area. On Saturday, Oct. 22, the judging will be a little more heart-led than usual. In partnership with Duke Raleigh Hospital’s Cancer Care program, the recipes will focus on cancer warriors in remembrance or celebration of someone who has experienced cancer. Each entry must include a story of why this dish represents someone who has fought cancer. The story will…

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The Kennedy Family has a fair devotion to swine

Brian and Sherry Kennedy of Duplin County are devoted N.C. State fairgoers. Not only do they pack up the family to attend the annual State Fair, but they are keen livestock competitors, especially when it comes to showing swine. Brian Kennedy’s passion for livestock started at a young age. “My life has always been ingrained in agriculture. Growing up, I was a part of FFA. At first, I started by showing steers and heifers and then moved into swine showmanship.” Brian is the finishing production manager at Prestage Farms where he has worked since 1991. His job at Prestage Farms,…

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State Fair Adventurer Scavenger Hunts helps make the fair an educational experience

Calling all elementary, middle and high school students – the fair makes it easy to turn your field trip to the fair into an educational one. The State Fair Adventurer Scavenger Hunts allow students and their teachers or parents to learn a little about the state while at the fair. Once completed, students can turn in their answers and receive a State Fair Adventurer Ribbon. “Each year we try to include new booths and questions on the annual hunt,” said Kent Yelverton, fair manager. “Locations like the Flower Show, N.C. Forest Service and N.C. Wildlife Resources Commision are always excited…

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New fair competitions highlight creativity and art

If you are headed to the beach for one last weekend of summer this Labor Day you might want to pick up a shell or two. One of this year’s new competitions is seashell art. It joins the line up with traditional fair competitions like artwork, photography, livestock, cooking, canned food, flowers, woodworking, decorated cakes and more. “It is exciting to announce new competitions to go along with categories that are alwaysso popular, like decorated cakes and quilts,” said John Buettner, competitive exhibitscoordinator. “We have competitions to appeal to a wide variety of individuals from painted rocks, terrarium building, shoe…

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